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Old 1st September 2022, 01:56   #286
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
Not a coincidence for sure, they know exactly what all is going to fail
I don't own any german brand so can't say from experience but I heard from someone whose known used to work at MB. They have a concept called DTF - Designed to Fail or Planned obsolescence. These parts are designed to fail prematurely. Some of these parts are so integral that vehicle cannot be operated normally when they fail. So the customer has no option but to get it replaced.

Usually, expensive products tend to have longer life but this is not the case with German cars. Their mechanical and electronic parts fail much earlier than cheaper cars.
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Old 1st September 2022, 07:44   #287
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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I don't own any german brand so can't say from experience but I heard from someone whose known used to work at MB. They have a concept called DTF - Designed to Fail or Planned obsolescence. These parts are designed to fail prematurely.
Germans have come a long way. When, my father had got this clock many decades back, the positioning was "You buy, your grandchild will use".
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Old 22nd September 2022, 17:27   #288
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

I was changing the wheels today and noticed that the rear wheel turns a little bit. I thought in RWD vehicles, the rear wheel should not turn at all. Checked with the service contact and he said that play is normal. It's just that I have never observed this type of play before. Any thoughts?

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Old 12th January 2023, 13:53   #289
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

The car had the following incidents during 2022, clearly the 10th anniversary didn't go that well!

1. March 2022: Front air suspension failure. Lot of suspension bits (control arms), engine and transmission mounts and brake pads, etc. were also replaced during this time. Spent close to 3L for air struts and 2.5L for the rest. This work was carried outside of A.S.S (details in post #269)

2. July 2022: Check Engine Light fault due to air intake actuator failure. Apparently a common problem with this engine. Sent the car to Sundaram motors. Intake manifold replaced at the cost of Rs 1.75L. They also replaced the rear air struts with the parts I imported myself (Rs 3L).

3. Nov 2022: Check Engine Light again. After considerable effort in diagnosing the issue, it was found to be a faulty Mass Air Flow sensor. I was very satisfied with the approach taken by A.S.S to diagnose the issue. Very systematic and with proper involvement of MB technical team from Pune. Air Flow Sensor was replaced at the cost of Rs 71K.

The car is back on duty, on the way to clock 70K km. Not just that, it is seeing a lot of daily usage these days due to certain changes that took place. Needless to say, I am hoping for a more economical 2023 :-)

Aging gracefully:

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Old 2nd February 2023, 19:10   #290
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

During the middle of Covid period, an NRI family member had the opportunity to camp in India for an extended period of time due to remote working flexibility. He knows how much time I spend on team-bhp :-) so he asked me to help him buy a 15L range used car for temporary use while he was in India. I proposed cars like Skoda Superb, C Class, etc. After spending some time shopping and test driving a few cars, he said performance and fun-to-drive are the least of his priorities and he would prefer a reliable sedan that's spacious and comfortable. For a moment, I lost interest in his case :-) He understood I was not too pleased with him for dropping the German cars though I insisted I have no such prejudice.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-01cars.jpg

However, being a team-bhpian, it's hard to let go of a chance to force your car buying opinion on someone else, so I decided to give it another shot. I asked him if he really said he wanted a boring car or did I hear it wrong? He repeated the words slowly as if he was speaking a language that I don't understand: reliable sedan that's spacious and comfortable. With the fake enthusiasm of a boutique watch salesman responding to a customer who has moved from the Rolex counter to the Seiko counter, I suggested the Toyota Camry Hybrid to him. I don't know what's with NRIs and Camrys but he looked very pleased and things progressed very quickly.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-02camry.jpeg

The idea was that the car would be bought in my name for ease of doing business, used by him till he heads back and then we'll figure out whether to sell it or keep it. Later when the time came to sell it, everyone in the family made a big fuss as if I was giving away their favourite puppy. During one of the drives with family, I casually asked my wife if she felt any difference between the rear seat comfort of Camry and S Class. She said no. Not only did she say no, she said it so nonchalantly. My younger son, who always cries to sit in the front seat disregarding the family constitution that says both my sons take turns, and I exchanged a look of utter disbelief. We both smiled as we remembered how we fancy travelling with my wife and his elder brother who don't dig cars.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-03clipart.png

I'm someone who expects a car to feel like a tank and go like a high speed train on the rails. Camry does neither. However, as I drove the car regularly in the buzzing but rarely moving Bangalore traffic, I started realising how therapeutic it is to drive a Hybrid in the city. The electric mode is devoid of any vibrations typical of ICE, incredibly smooth in coming to a stop, taking off from standstill, and crawling without hunting for gears. The S Class is already one of the best in business to offer a very smooth ride but the driver still has to deal with the massive weight of the car and the heavy steering in congested city roads. Camry Hybrid, on the other hand, is a joy to drive in congested and chaotic traffic without compromising the comfort and space of a well-built family sedan. No amount of German engineering can help a torque converter beat eCVT in slow traffic.

There is a reason why I have such a strong bias towards German cars - they are engineered very well and offer a great driving experience. Like IBM ThinkPads and BlackBerry Bolds of the old - cutting edge engineering combined with beautiful craftsmanship to offer an enjoyable user experience. When I drive many other cars, I only see pragmatism and I assumed the Camry Hybrid would be one such car. I am happy to be proven wrong. Hybrid technology is like magic. On paper, it's an impressive concept. When you see how it is implemented and how seamlessly and intelligently it switches between modes, you can't help but become a fan. To me, this is impressive engineering, on par, if not superior to those of turbocharged, dual clutch drivetrains from the Germans. As much as a turbocharged engine with a slick gearbox, etc. makes you want to drive the car hard to get your emotional reward, Camry Hybrid with its hybrid system can give you dopamine rush for driving to achieve high fuel efficiency.

A typical BMW/Porsche offers a human-machine interface to get the best out of the machine - tachometer, paddle shifts, steering feedback, engine sound, etc. all of which are missing in the Camry. Camry hybrid instead equips the driver to strive to achieve the best fuel efficiency. It's the same principle of cutting edge engineering combined with beautiful craftsmanship to offer an enjoyable experience. Albeit for a different use case but with the same level of engineering excellence and attention to detail.

At this point, it might look like I am essentially describing how it feels to drive an EV. Maybe but I don't think there is an equivalent EV at 15L budget in the market - not to mention all the early adopter hassles. While the Hybrid technology is the raison d'Ítre for my praise, I found it fascinating to note many uncanny similarities between Camry and S Class. Toyota has most definitely used the S Class as a reference while designing the car which gives it an edge over cars of the same size from the German brands because none of them offer such a rich feature set as they are exclusively reserved for their flagship models.

Extra large four-spoke steering with wood trim
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-04steering.png

Boss seat controls that allow driver and rear passenger to move the front passenger seat. S Class implementation is elaborate and those buttons are placed both on driver's door as well as rear passenger's door in order for both to be able to operate. Placement of these buttons on the Camry offers similar access to driver and rear passenger without adding complexity.
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-05seatcontrols.png

Very similar looking layout for cup-holders and cigarette lighter
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-06cupholders.png

Generous amount of controls for the rear passengers including seat recline
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-07rearcontrols.png

Typical old Mercedes parking brake in the footwell (S Class has electronic one)
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-08footwell.jpeg

Last edited by Aditya : 3rd February 2023 at 05:24. Reason: Minor typo
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Old 4th February 2023, 10:00   #291
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

As always, good stuff androdev. I was wondering a while ago whether I should post a comparison between W205 C Class and Kushaq 1.5 DSG but then dropped the idea thinking they are segments apart and here you are. This was definitely worth reading. Glad I did.
I wish more BHPians could just compare their cars even if segments apart and lay all the statistics out there including 0-100, running costs, FE and much more.

P.S.: What is the origin of your username androdev? My guess is that you were/are an android developer. Don't mind, just popped in my head.
It would be nice to have a thread where BHPians tell the origin and story(if any) behind their respective usernames.
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Old 4th February 2023, 11:41   #292
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
As much as a turbocharged engine with a slick gearbox, etc. makes you want to drive the car hard to get your emotional reward, Camry Hybrid with its hybrid system can give you dopamine rush for driving to achieve high fuel efficiency.
--
A typical BMW/Porsche offers a human-machine interface to get the best out of the machine - tachometer, paddle shifts, steering feedback, engine sound, etc. all of which are missing in the Camry. Camry hybrid instead equips the driver to strive to achieve the best fuel efficiency. It's the same principle of cutting edge engineering combined with beautiful craftsmanship to offer an enjoyable experience. Albeit for a different use case but with the same level of engineering excellence and attention to detail.
Very succinct comparo! And the facelift version (2022) of the Camry is at a notch higher when it comes to interior luxury
I had done few test drives last year during the pursuit of a car upgrade and found the Camry to be almost a perfect car (my impressions)

Coming from a Vento, the Camry's dimensions felt almost 2 sizes bigger from outside. I wondered how would it actually ride. However, a gentle tap on the accelerator made the car gently crawl out of its lumber mode and drive away.
For almost 50% of the test drive, I could easily witness that all the work was done by the Ni-MH battery source itself. Not a drop of petrol sipped for this section along typical city speeds. The Camry rules in the city.

When I wanted to test the spirit and shifted to 'Sport' mode, only then the 2.5 liter engine made its presence felt. But then, I had to literally make some effort to feel that transition, else I wouldn't have noticed any change at all.

To my surprise, on the highway as well, the Camry was a pleasant and fun proposition. No swaying (admittedly, not many high-speed turns out there), no drama whatsoever on the open roads. Steering firmed up, tacho moving to 'PWR' on the dials and just some nice grunt to get going.

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It would be nice to have a thread where BHPians tell the origin and story(if any) behind their respective usernames.
Here you go - https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shift...-username.html (How did you come up with your username?)
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Old 4th February 2023, 12:08   #293
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Thank you kind sir! That is a big list.
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Old 4th February 2023, 12:47   #294
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by Excommunicado View Post
I wish more BHPians could just compare their cars even if segments apart ...
I agree, such comparisons based on long term ownership offer great insights. Most of us find the "comparison of options" section the most interesting part of car buying experience threads. After all, something is good or bad only when there is a reference for comparison.

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P.S.: What is the origin of your username androdev? My guess is that you were/are an android developer. Don't mind, just popped in my head.
My username was created in 2007 before Android existed. I was working on a project code named Andromeda :-) Someone I know started a tiny workshop called Tesla in 1990s

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..
The Camry rules in the city.
..
I find Camry to be a very interesting car in our market. It's an outstanding city car but pretty average when it comes to the highways. The new car price puts it dangerously close to cars with more prestige and features. However, if someone has a use case for a pre-owned CKD family sedan for city usage that is cheap to own (good fuel efficiency, high reliability, maintenance costs), this car has no competition.
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Old 4th February 2023, 19:13   #295
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Hahaha you fell in love with your beater. I’ve been in your shoes. Absolutely adore my Honda City even though I have access to much faster, capable and more luxurious machines. My parents love it too. There’s something special about making your way through the maze without parking sensors going mad or not having to angle your car over every dumb speed breaker. Nonchalance is the X-factor of city driving.
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Old 4th February 2023, 19:47   #296
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
, I casually asked my wife if she felt any difference between the rear seat comfort of Camry and S Class. She said no. Not only did she say no, she said it so nonchalantly. My younger son, who always cries to sit in the front seat disregarding the family constitution that says both my sons take turns, and I exchanged a look of utter disbelief. We both smiled as we remembered how we fancy travelling with my wife and his elder brother who don't dig cars.

I think Indians, especially women find Japanese cars' seats to be better since they are designed for the average asian who is shorter/smaller than the average caucasian. A pair of cheap shoes that fit you is much more comfortable than a pair of expensive shoes that are too big/small.

Also an S class seat comes with so many options for adjustments that if you don't set the seat correctly for your height and body type, it can feel odd. I think that's why the new mercs come with a height selector in the infotainment that will adjust the seat automatically to fit your height because some people were struggling to find a good seat adjustment.
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Old 4th February 2023, 23:23   #297
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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My username was created in 2007 before Android existed. I was working on a project code named Andromeda :-) Someone I know started a tiny workshop called Tesla in 1990s
Cool origin story sir!
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Old 5th February 2023, 13:22   #298
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Hahaha you fell in love with your beater. I’ve been in your shoes. Absolutely adore my Honda City even though I have access to much faster, capable and more luxurious machines. My parents love it too. There’s something special about making your way through the maze without parking sensors going mad or not having to angle your car over every dumb speed breaker. Nonchalance is the X-factor of city driving.
I had a Honda City AT for many years and I understand what you mean. However, my intention here is to present Camry Hybrid not as a beater/compromise but as a superior city car for families comparable to many expensive options. Hence this comparison to my S Class. I would not rate Honda Accord or regular Camry. I couldn't wait to sell the Honda City I had - a car without any kind of redeeming virtue other than space and reliability. On the other hand, Camry Hybrid has left such a strong impression on me that we brought another car as soon as an opportunity presented itself.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-cars.jpeg

The more expensive German sedans are better all purpose cars but when it comes to urban commute in places like Bangalore, a large Hybrid sedan with good build quality is a unique proposition. I am sure electric cars also would match this experience but they are neither accessible nor practical/proven at this point.

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I think Indians, especially women find Japanese cars' seats to be better since they are designed for the average asian who is shorter/smaller than the average caucasian. A pair of cheap shoes that fit you is much more comfortable than a pair of expensive shoes that are too big/small.

Also an S class seat comes with so many options for adjustments that if you don't set the seat correctly for your height and body type, it can feel odd. I think that's why the new mercs come with a height selector in the infotainment that will adjust the seat automatically to fit your height because some people were struggling to find a good seat adjustment.
You make some valid points. Let me elaborate a bit more. Honda City and Corolla Altis never got any love in our family though we used them for many years. Camry and Accord like cars come with really soft comfy sofa-like seats. Cars like Octavia, etc. come with rock hard rear seats with upright position. Entry level luxury cars also don't do such a good job when it comes to rear seats. As you increase your budget and approach S Class territory, you will start seeing soft sofa like seats with excellent comfort. Camry rear seats are really good irrespective of the height factor.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review-reatseats.jpeg

I have a personal theory that localised cars in India don't compare that well to the cars with heavy imported content. Things are improving but I feel the gap is still significant. I broadly classify the cars into two buckets: cars with heavy localisation and cars without. There is a big jump in build quality when one enters the latter category. Due to local taxes, etc. the starting price for the latter also tends to be high and this price gap will only increase in future. Imported (or assembled) cars are out of reach if you are on a budget unless you are willing to consider pre-owned options. Most imported cars also happen to be unreliable and expensive to own except, you guessed it right, Camry Hybrid :-) However it only excels in urban slow traffic when pitted against the competition.

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The above chart tells you few things:
1. Quality doesn't increase linearly with price, the last mile can get really pricy (asymptotic)
2. Local cars will have a quality ceiling (this is getting better, hoping for a better future)
3. You could be having a budget that can put you in no man's land (not enough to buy an imported car and too high to spend on a local car)

PS: Some of you following this thread probably remember Camry Hybrid was doing the duty when the S class had downtime and I have been meaning to write about Camry Hybrid since then. Off late, there is a lot of interest in Toyota Hybrid tech due to their new launches (a pity that Toyota took so long to push Hybrid tech in India) and I thought I should write this post to put Camry Hybrid (new or pre-owned) on the radar.

Last edited by androdev : 5th February 2023 at 13:35.
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Old 9th February 2023, 18:17   #299
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

Bluetec S350 was available with a 4Matic, it was a beautiful hybrid superior to the inferior camry. Accord has a hybrid. Camry is equivalent to an inferior version of an E class, how can it match the Sonder Klasse? The chassis length is phenomenally shorter, under thigh support from the long wheel base version can't even be the same. I've recently been to checkout the new E class and ES. Neither one has the rear comfort, under thigh support or legroom of the Sonder Klasse. 7 series is the only close match for the price. The new W223 is very peppy, feels sporty, and quite nimble. Camry is for someone who is looking for a stripped down ES. ES was a blast tt drive in the city, but being FWD it was not as stable as RWD cars from MB and BMW.
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Old 9th February 2023, 22:18   #300
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Re: Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz - W221 S350 initial ownership review

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Bluetec S350 was available with a 4Matic, it was a beautiful hybrid superior to the inferior camry. Accord has a hybrid. Camry is equivalent to an inferior version of an E class, how can it match the Sonder Klasse? The chassis length is phenomenally shorter, under thigh support from the long wheel base version can't even be the same. I've recently been to checkout the new E class and ES. Neither one has the rear comfort, under thigh support or legroom of the Sonder Klasse. 7 series is the only close match for the price. The new W223 is very peppy, feels sporty, and quite nimble. Camry is for someone who is looking for a stripped down ES. ES was a blast tt drive in the city, but being FWD it was not as stable as RWD cars from MB and BMW.
Hope I have not given the impression of claiming Camry Hybrid is better than the cars you mentioned. Every time I said Camry Hybrid is good, I qualified it with "under slow urban traffic conditions".

The best analogy I can think of is this: Camry Hybrid is like a budget audio speaker that plays just one specific genre of music really well: slow urban traffic. Pretty average for all other situations. S Class is like a very high end speaker that plays all genres really well.

Camry vs ES is like Skoda vs Audi. Former lacks the wow factor (prestige, looks and premium materials) but I wouldn't describe them as inferior/stripped-down especially in Indian market where they come pretty loaded.

My post was not to recommend Camry Hybrid over other cars but to simply highlight few unique traits of Camry Hybrid that piqued my interest.
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